The following letter was written by Greg and Maru Whitmore who farm in Shelby, NE in response to an article recently run in Time Magazine called Farming Novels.

Mr. Richard Stengel
Time Magazine Editor

Mr. Stengel:

Our family has been farming for more than three generations in Shelby, NE. Just as any other industry, the technology used in our production process is continuously updated. Our company's motto is Innovation, Leadership, Stewardship. Everyday we are in contact with nature, we know how delicate the balance of the ecosystems that aid on our production system are. It is in our best interest to respect Mother Nature the way she requires us to. This is why one of our most important missions in our farming is to be responsible with the Stewardship of the land we feel privileged to work on.

In our farming practices, we use something called Precision Agriculture the writer of your article does not seem familiar with. This systems consists of GPS locator systems along with computers in our tractors and other equipment that will apply a "prescription" of any given substance necessary in our soils (based on grid sampled soil tests) so that we can continue to reestablish the equilibrium of the ecosystem in a specific field.

The no-till practices, the continued research our grower organizations conduct, support serious scientists in different Universities to protect our fields and transition to the least to farming practices that least alter ecosystems. The manure mentioned in your article is really an organic fertilizer that we have the privilege to apply to our fields with the systems I have mentioned. To us, it is the potential richness our soils can be provided with as opposed to how "city people" see it as "waste" and smell.

In our farms we do not only grow food we also grow the ink you use to print your magazine, diapers, biodegradable plastic ware and utensils, fabrics like bio cool-max, soy silk, raw materials for salad dressings, candy, and any other product you purchase in a supermarket.

As you can see from the few considerations I have expressed, there are many aspects of farming that are very advanced, require knowledge, and I have not even begun to mention the financial investment required to run a farming business like ours, or those of our neighbors nor have I mentioned any of the advanced farm marketing knowledge needed to be successful in an extremely volatile market.

With less people in the world willing to be farmers the operations need to be bigger in order to be efficient and successful. Less than 1% of the U.S. population are producing the food the U.S and the world need. Years ago many more households grew their own food. The driving force of the production in an economies of scale system is the consumer because we always want cheaper food.

Sincerely yours, growing everything the world needs to survive.

Greg and Maru Whitmore
Shelby, NE

March 17, 2010 1:55 PM
On the road to North Platte, Shooters tonite! Happy St Pattys Day!